IMF: Nigeria to grow by 2.1 percent this year

The International Monetary Fund says Nigeria, the sub-Saharan Africa’s most-populous nation and top crude producer, will grow by 2.1 per cent this year, matching the lender’s estimate released in January.

In its Africa Pulse report released on Wednesday, the Washington-based Fund said South Africa, the world’s biggest source of platinum, would expand by 1.5 per cent, more than the 0.9 per cent prediction three months ago.

The two economies account for almost half of the SSA region’s Gross Domestic Product.

The IMF increased its forecast for expansion in sub-Saharan Africa to 3.4 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent the next “as the challenging outlook in commodity exporters gradually improves,” it said.

Ghana has lost its mantle as the African economy likely to grow the quickest this year to Ethiopia, which has held the position for most of the past decade, according to the IMF data.

West Africa’s second-biggest economy should expand 6.3 per cent this year, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook released Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

The figure is lower than the 8.9 per cent forecast in October, and is also less than the raised 7.4 per cent estimate for Ivory Coast and the prediction for Ethiopia, which was held at 8.5 per cent.

Commodities including oil, gold and cocoa are the mainstay of Ghana’s $43bn economy, which surged by 8.5 per cent last year as the Sankofa crude field started up in May.

Its growth booms and busts have been closely linked to oil since it became a producer in 2010.

Ethiopia, whose gross domestic product is almost double Ghana’s, has drawn investors including General Electric Co, Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group and hundreds of Chinese companies, Bloomberg reported.

Forecasts from the World Bank and African Development Bank in January also showed that Ghana would expand the fastest this year.

The World Bank reduced its forecast for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year to 3.1 per cent from 3.4 per cent seen in October, it said in the Africa Pulse report released Wednesday.

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